Do you want an air-resistance rowing machine but don’t want to pay $1,000? The Stamina 1399 rower might be for you.
I own and use the Conept2 but have had the chance to try several Stamina air rowers including the 1399 when training clients. It’s one of the better budget rowing machines I’ve tried.
In short, the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is an excellent budget air rowing machine. It offers a solid steel frame, comfortable padded seat, and multi-function monitor at about 1/3 the price of high-end air rowers. The main downside is the resistance since there are no damper settings.
We’ll get into it, resistance with all air rowers is largely determined by how fast you row. But higher-quality air rowers let you control the resistance with a damper setting that controls air flow providing a wider range of difficulty.
If cost is a primary concern, you can’t go wrong with the Stamina 1399.
Stamina Air Rower 1399
The Stamina Air Rower 1399 is an air-resistance rowing machine.
Here’s a brief description of how an air rower works:
When the handle of the rower is pulled it causes a flywheel with fan blades to spin and create wind.
The harder or faster you row, the more wind you generate. The more wind you generate, the greater the resistance becomes and the harder it is to row. That is why this type of rower is categorized as variable resistance aka rowers with a dynamic resistance system.
Contrast with magnetic resistance which only depends on how close the magnet is to the flywheel. I.e., a magnetic rower will have less realistic rowing motion since rowing on water also gets harder the faster you row.
If one day you feel like taking it easy, don’t row too hard and the resistance will be minimal. Conversely, if you feel like having a more intense workout, row harder and I guarantee it will be much harder to row (because the resistance will be greater).
So, the resistance is adjustable. If you see comments stating that the resistance isn’t adjustable, that’s technically untrue. They just mean there is no damper setting, i.e., no buttons to press to increase the resistance.
The same resistance style that I just described is the preferred type by Olympic rowers, so obviously it works!
You can learn more about air resistance and how it operates by visiting my air resistance vs. magnetic resistance article.
The Stamina 1399 Air Rower has an extremely smooth and strong rowing stroke. As mentioned previously, the resistance is ‘variable’ which a lot of people love.
Variable resistance is great for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and Crossfit style workouts. This is because you can speed up or slow down without stopping to change any settings and the resistance will adjust automatically to your speed.
The Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower also has an inclined seat rail which helps add some additional resistance while also creating a smoother rowing stroke.
The inclined seat rail means a user will have to push themselves up a slight incline, which helps create a better leg workout. They will also have to control their return down the decline, which causes negative resistance and a better leg workout.
The seat is about 9.0″ off the floor at the lowest point and about 12.0″ at the highest point. So the angle is not that intense but still an added benefit.
Unlike the higher-end air rowers that I have reviewed, such as the Concept2 Model D and Model E, the Stamina Air Rower does not have the option to adjust a damper settings. Damper settings are like gears on a bike that change the way the rowing experience feels.
While this is a bit of a bummer, no other budget air rowers have a damper setting. If you want to receive this benefit you will have to pay over $600 more!
Another thing to mention would be that air rowers make the most noise out of all the resistance types. The noise is a ‘wooshing’ sound created when the flywheel spins.
Most users listen to music with headphones or it just doesn’t bother them. People commented that the rowing machine could not be heard in another room and it did not wake their children up from a nap. So if you have small children or live in an apartment you should be fine.
I recorded myself rowing on my Concept2 Rower which is similar sounding to the Stamina Air Rower 1399. You can listen to the sound here.
Resistance Strength Debate
Rowing machines are popular because they give a full-body workout with minimal impact on your joints.
The 1399 Air Rower will work out your whole body but the question is will the resistance strength be enough and will the workload be evenly distributed to your lower and upper body?
This question has been raised a few times and seems to have come from users not rowing with proper form.
As I mentioned earlier, the resistance strength should be suitable for users of all fitness levels and the Stamina 1399 Air Rower gets good feedback in this regard most of the time.
Some unhappy users were upset because they felt the resistance wasn’t strong enough and could not be adjusted. This is mainly because those users did not know air rowing machines are not “adjustable resistance” but instead are “variable resistance”.
In order to feel more resistance they must row faster.
Air rowing resistance machines are for people who can motivate themselves to row faster. You cannot row slowly and feel a strong resistance.
The angled seat rail, as mentioned earlier, also helps to increase the resistance strength.
A few reviewers also felt the rowing machine gave either their upper body or lower body a better workout. The complaints were mixed between the two groups which shows the issue is more than likely caused by improper form.
Users that complained of an uneven workout were probably just using the Stamina Air Rower 1399 incorrectly. Rowing should be about 60% legs, 20% core, and 20% arms. Adding more or less percent to any of these categories would cause an imbalance between the upper and lower body.
Users must also remember to control their recovery. Meaning, your recovery stroke should be 2x as long as your drive. If it takes 1 second to push off, it should take 2 seconds to recover. Most rowers will count while performing a stroke like this – one….one..two…one….one..two.
Beginner rowers must also remember that it can take a few weeks to adjust to a new form of exercise. If they feel their legs are getting a better workout, then it is probably just because they haven’t worked out their legs in a while. Same as if they feel their upper-body is receiving a better workout.
With time you will start to feel the rowing stroke giving your entire body a complete workout. Check out my article, What Does a Rowing Machine Do For Your Body? to see what muscles you will be working!
Almost everyone looking for a full-body workout should be happy with the Stamina Air Rower 1399.
The resistance has proven to be strong enough for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. It is possible that if you are used to rowing on a Concept2 that you will feel some difference.
If you’re concerned about resistance inequity (upper vs. lower-body) or resistance strength, you shouldn’t be. Over 90% of users didn’t complain and for the few that did, most mentioned their body adjusted after only a few workouts.
Overall, users really enjoyed the resistance provided by the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399.
The Stamina Air Rower 1399 has a single-button multi-function monitor. The monitor tracks basic fitness data such as:
- Speed (MPH)
- Distance (Miles)
The speed remains fixed on the monitor while the rest of the data are displayed one at a time and can be changed manually by pressing the ‘mode’ button. You can also have the monitor in ‘scan’ mode where the monitor cycles through the workout data displaying each for 6 seconds.
The monitor turns on by pressing the button or by moving the seat and turns off automatically after 4 minutes of inactivity. It’s powered by 2 AA batteries (not included).
The monitor has no backlight so it can be hard to read in low-light areas. The units are not in metric either which can be confusing for people who are used to using Olympic distances.
The calorie calculator is based on an average user so it’s not super accurate. But it is useful in helping a given user compare which workouts were more effective at burning calories. To learn about burning more calories on a rowing machine check out this article I wrote.
Overall, the Stamina 35-1399 Air Rower monitor is a basic fitness monitor that keeps track of essential workout data.
It is a great monitor for this price range and is comparable with other monitors I have seen on similarly0priced rowers.
Stamina is known for building really strong frames and nothing changes with the Stamina Rower 1399. The frame is built of solid steel and feels sturdy to the touch.
The nylon strap that is pulled to spin the fan blades is durable and will be able to handle the abuse you’ll give it over time as you get stronger.
Air-resistance rowers are known to be the noisiest out of all the rowing machine resistance types, so it comes as no surprise that this rower isn’t quiet. The noise level isn’t that bad, especially if you expect the machine will make some noise.
The harder you row, the louder the fan blades get so keep that in mind. Most users like that it gets louder the harder they row because it tells them that they’re working out hard.
But don’t worry about pulling too hard, the Stamina Air Rower 1399 is built to withstand the toughest rowing.
A small percentage of users mentioned that this rower is louder than the Concept2 rowers, but didn’t say anything about the noise level bothering them.
Besides the typical noises you’d hear on an air-rower (fan blades, sliding seat), don’t expect to hear annoying creaking noises more common with cheaper rowing machines.
Overall, users really enjoyed the solid build quality of the Stamina Air Rower 1399 and had very few complaints!
The Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is a rower built for comfort and had very few complaints.
The padded, upholstered seat glides smoothly up and down the seat rail and most users found the seat to be comfortable. The ergonomic design makes it comfortable, especially for rowers that workout for long periods of time.
The handles have a textured grip and feel comfortable in your hands. This is important because you’re going to be gripping the handles a lot!
The footrests are large and can fit most shoe sizes. The nylon straps will keep your feet locked in place when you row. This is important because you need a solid foot base in order to row efficiently.
One user commented that she loves the footrests on this rower because she can easily row with or without shoes. The footrests also pivot which allows for a more comfortable, fluid rowing stroke.
Some users chose to put down a workout mat, such as the Stamina Fold-to-Fit Exercise Mat, to minimize movement on hardwood floors and reduce any vibrations.
The overall motion is fluid and resembles the feeling of rowing on the water. The seat glides up and down the rail very smoothly and the nylon strap that pulls the fan blades go in and out of the fan casing without any hiccups.
The Stamina Air Rower 1399 is perfect for people that don’t have much storage space in their house because it folds up and reduces its footprint by almost 50%.
To store, all you have to do is remove a bolt from the frame, fold it upwards, and put the bolt back in the frame.
The whole process can be done in a few seconds.
For portability, the machine has caster wheels that make moving the rower around a piece of cake.
All you have to do is lift up the end opposite of where the fan is and push.
The Stamina 1399 Air Rower has a fairly large capacity which is nice to see on such a low priced rowing machine.
Per the manufacturer, the maximum user weight is 250 pounds. There were some users as heavy as 270-280 lbs. who used the rower with no problems.
Air-rowers usually have a longer seat rail and that benefits taller users/ users with longer legs because there’s more space to row on.
Users as tall as 6’4” have mentioned they used the rower with no issues.
I wanted to see if taller users could use the 1399 so I called Stamina directly. I spoke to a customer service agent and asked her if there were any height limitations on this machine. After putting me on hold to check for a few minutes, she told me that someone 6’4” uses the rower without any issues.
I did a little more digging and found that from the foot pedals to the middle of the seat at full extension is about 45.0″ and can fit an inseam length of up to 38.0″. However if you are over 6’6″ I would double check with the manufacturer.
As far as a minimum height requirement, I wasn’t able to find any negative comments from shorter users. Children seem to use the rower, so being short shouldn’t be a problem
- Shipping Dimensions:
- 45.0″ x 24.0″ x 9.0″ (L x W x H)
- Assembled size:
- 77″ x 18″ x 22″ (L x W x H)
- Folded size:
- 48″ x 18″ x 28″ (L x W x H)
- 55 pounds [25 kg]
Several users commented that the 1399 Air Rower was easy to put together.
A few users were able to put the unit together in as little as 15 minutes but most users took ~45 minutes.
Everything needed for assembly is included in the box along with 2 allen wrenches and a regular wrench.
No previous experience putting items together is required. As long as you follow the instructions you will be fine.
Pros and Cons
- Low price-point for an air-resistance rower (higher-end models cost 3x more)
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Great resistance
- Basic but good quality monitor
- Folds up in seconds for easy storage
- Wheels make it easy to move around when needed
- Comfortable upholstered seat
- No option to adjust damper (to adjust the feel of each row)
- Monitor units not in metric
- A little noisier than higher-end air-rowing machines
- Frame: 3-years
- Parts: 90-days
In my experience, Stamina has had great customer service and does their best to get customers replacement parts ASAP.
Most Stamina products require the owner to register their equipment when they receive their product. Also make sure to reference the full product name: Stamina Air Rower 35-1399.
Stamina Air Rower 1399 Price
The price of the Stamina Air Rower 1399 is one of the main selling points. There really just aren’t many quality air rowing machines at this price level.
The price for the 1399 Air Rower varies depending on where you buy it from but Amazon tends to have the lowest price. They also offer free shipping on qualified orders and a good layer of consumer protection.
Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower Review: Conclusion
Overall the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is an excellent budget air rowing machine.
People looking to buy an air rowing machine with great build quality and strong resistance really admire this rower. Especially when they are not able to spend 3x as much on a high-end rowing machine.
I really love this rower as a great option for people on a budget. I even wrote an article calling it the Best Rowing Machine Under $500.
Some people like to compare the Stamina 1399 Air Rower vs. the Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower. You can read my full review here to see how they compare.
Other people like to compare the Stamina 35-1399 Air Rower vs. the Concept2 Model D.
If you want the bells and whistles and have the money, then 100% buy a commercial rower like the Concept2. They last a lifetime and are best suited for taking up indoor rowing as a hobby. They’re the main rowers you’ll use in gyms and studios, indoor rowing competitions, etc. You can read my Model D breakdown here.
I hope you enjoyed my Stamina Air Rower 1399 review! Drop any comments or questions in the box below.
Rowing Machine King Founder and Author.